China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Officials lose jobs for deadly lake pollution

Eight environmental officials have lost their jobs for allowing factories to devastate local fisheries by fouling a lake in northern China once renowned for its beauty, the government said, in its latest crackdown on heavy polluters. Elaine Kurtenbach Saturday, April 08, 2006 Via The Standard Eight environmental officials have lost their jobs for allowing factories to devastate local fisheries by fouling a lake in northern China once renowned for its beauty, the government said, in its latest crackdown on heavy polluters.

Baiyangdian lake, a cluster of 143 small lakes about 160 kilometers southwest of Beijing, provides a crucial wetland habitat for migratory birds.

But homes and heavily polluting factories - many of which are paper producers - in nearby Baoding city, release 90,000 tons of untreated sewage and effluent into the lake every day, compounding existing problems caused by a chronic drought, according to China's State Environmental Protection Agency.

The spring melt uncovered masses of dead fish in the lake, leading to nearly 15 million yuan (HK$14.5 million) in losses to local fisheries, the agency said in a report.

An investigation resulted in the dismissal of seven local officials in charge of environmental protection. Another official quit after receiving a "demerit" - a form of administrative penalty for Communist Party officials.

The city also ordered many of the area's more than 200 factories to reduce operations or close, it said. Another 11 businesses were punished.

Authorities ordered the emergency release of fresh water from another reservoir to help diffuse the pollution and replenish the lake.

Phone calls to government news offices in Baoding were unanswered Friday.

The government renewed efforts to crack down on heavy polluters after a toxic spill from a petrochemical plant explosion in November tainted water supplies for millions of people living in northeast China and Russia.

However, regulators so far have lacked the wherewithal to enforce anti- pollution regulations.

Baiyangdian had been struggling with pollution problems as a result of a chronic drought. But the area had been viewed as a success story after local authorities pumped in water from other reservoirs and sent soldiers in to help clear out refuse. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Technorati Tags: , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home